Paying for Sex while Traveling as Tourists: The Experience of Israeli Men


Einat Peled, PhD & Ayelet Prior, MSW | September 20 | 2:45-3:45 PM

Topic: Research, International | Knowledge Level: Intermediate, Advanced

This presentation deals with the experiences of men who have paid for sex while traveling as tourists overseas. The findings are based on a qualitative study that explored the experiences of 15 Israeli men, based on in-depth, semi-structured interviews with them. Findings focus on three major aspects of the participants’ experiences: the meaning of sex for them and their reasons for wanting to pay for it; the problems involved in paying for sex; and, paying for sex while traveling abroad as a preferable option to paying for sex in Israel. The participants spoke extensively about the meaning of sex in their lives. Four related perceptions they presented were of sex as a natural and basic need, as key to normative male identity, as related to intimacy, and as a form of social recreation. Most of the interviewees noted that they chose to pay for sex in the absence of any other option, and described the difficulties associated with doing so, which diminished their enjoyment of it. Conversely, they regarded paid sex while traveling abroad as successful and satisfactory. The participants described paying for sex overseas as being quite different and advantageous to doing so in Israel, and therefore much preferable. In their view, paying for sex overseas was “not really prostitution,” was normative, made them feel more positive, and was commercially more gratifying. The discussion of these findings will offer sociological and psychoanalytic inter-subjective explanations for the men’s preference to pay for sex as tourists overseas.

Presentation Objectives:

·  Illustrate the meaning of sex and of paying for sex for the studied men.

·  Describe the experiences of men who have paid for sex while traveling as tourists overseas.

·  Communicate understanding of their preference to pay for sex abroad rather than in their home country.

·  Discuss the implications of the research findings for social intervention with men who pay for sex.

About the Presenters